Updated: Jun 8, 2019
In 1976, Dana dreams of being a writer. In 1815, she is assumed a slave. When Dana first meets Rufus on a Maryland plantation, he's drowning.
I ain’t gunna lie to you lovelies, I love books. Like Kanye loves Kayne . But such love cannot be contained, hence 'Book Crushes' was birthed from my obsessive spine cracking grubby mind. These are my favourite and best books. Books I’d diced death for, books I’d gone without sleep for, books that I'd do hard time for.
This week is the visceral and significant Kindred.
Date of Birth:
Octavia E. Butler
"In 1976, Dana dreams of being a writer. In 1815, she is assumed a slave. When Dana first meets Rufus on a Maryland plantation, he's drowning. She saves his life - and it will happen again and again. Neither of them understands his power to summon her whenever his life is threatened, nor the significance of the ties that bind them. And each time Dana saves him, the more aware she is that her own life might be over before it's even begun."
Why it's great:
Classed as a science fiction novel don't let the label put you off if that's not typically your cup of tea. Kindred is more of a historical novel with a little-suspended belief thrown in so we can enjoy a narrator who finds herself out of time and in real danger with difficult choices to make.
Butler creates a rich and disturbing setting in the plantation of the Weylins, careful to skirt the line between the horror of slavery and the mundane living many of the characters endure. She delves deep into ideas of how people become slaves physically and mentally. How the times' we live in shape us far beyond our control and how even thinking differently from the consensus of the day is truly a revolutionary act.
Clean and fluid prose, the punches come from the concepts burrowed in the story rather than some grand way with words and the characters she creates for us aren't caricature but complex. A wonderfully realised book that had me turning each page with eager need.
Best Time To Read:
Right now. With fascism and racism back on the rise, a look back to how society instead of being a shield against the worst parts of humanity can become a noose — strangling dignity and rights that leaves deep scars. Ones that are carried for generations.
Dinner Party Prat Fact:
In 2018 a Pluto moon mountain was named Butler Mons in honour of Octavia by The International Astronomical Union.
"Slavery was a long slow process of dulling.”
In a word: